What is Geography?

Have you ever wondered what geography actually is; well there is no simple answer because geography is many things.

Basic geography is defined as the study of the interaction between all human and physical phenomena at any given individual place and of how patterns are formed and space is organized among interactions.

Once geography is broken down into its basic three sections a clearer understanding of what geography really is can be seen.

Physical, Human & Cultural geography

Physical geography is defined as all the characteristics of a physical environment.

Human geography is the study of groups of humans and their activities. Some of these activities consist of building cities, the industry, and language. Human geography has been described as a social science.

Cultural geography is actually considered to be a subfield of human geography. This particular part of geography focuses on the specific role of human cultures.

Geographers, who are people who study geography, often investigate the happenings that lead up to knowing about a place and its environmental features, as well as people and the activities that go on around them.

How has geography developed?

Geographers have many relationships they examine, among these are:

  • climate
  • food prices
  • soils
  • environmental degradation
  • agricultural practices
  • political unrest
  • population growth

A new way of thinking about problems is often introduced in geography. Technology is something that has had an accelerated effect on the pace of change in geography.

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In order to keep up with these changes, knowledge is critical in terms of understanding and the management of issues that may occur in the future globally.

How is geography different?

Geography, unlike any other discipline, studies the factors and relationships that take effect on places. Because geography takes on this unique feature it allows for a greater understanding of why humans behave the way they do.


The U.S Congress adopted Goals 2000 in 1994. Goals 2000 is also known as the Educate America Act. Under this act, geography was noted as fundamental to the national curriculum. It is believed that in order to have responsible and productive citizenship in our global economy, a geographical understanding is essential.

Though the idea was for people to have the correct knowledge of geography by the year 2000; this goal was not achieved and is still currently something that’s in place to be reached.

Knowing and Understanding

In order to understand geography one must learn how to use maps and geographic tools, as well as the technologies to process and report acquired information.

There also has to be a significant knowledge of how to use mental maps that are used to organize information on the environment, as well as the places and people that make up the environment. Being able to analyze all the information is key to understanding geography.

Geography uses and purposes

Geography can be used to interpret the past as well as the present and allow for the preparation of the future.

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The Association of American Geographers currently recognizes 55 different sub-categories of geography.

A geographer studies objects that are distributed across the surface of the Earth and they also study the processes in which environmental and human phenomena move from place to place.

Geographies Importance

Geography is so important because, without a clear knowledge of people, places, and our surrounding environment, our global abilities would be very slim.

Knowing and understanding geography has kept our global technology and other resources on a path of rapid expansion over the years.

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